When I talk about innovative uses of technology or the “metaverse,” I always use the Travis Scott in Fortnite experience as the best example. This is usually answered with “I’ve seen that one, what’s happened since then?” and the answer is not much. Nothing better.
So why do we keep referencing something that happened two years ago? To understand that we need to go back a few steps. A year ago, people rolled their eyes at the term “metaverse” in our industry. Next, Facebook did a land grab and changed their name to “Meta”, telling the world that “the metaverse” is happening, and that they are the big players.
Then came the brand and agency chaos as everyone rushed to create something in the “metaverse” and be “first”. And this is exactly where the problem lies.
The truth is that there is still no metaverse. We have: games (like Fortnite or Animal Crossing), platforms to build immersive social spaces (like Roblox and Decentraland), and technologies like AR, VR and blockchain. We are nowhere near a shared virtual space with interconnected destinations and experiences. Currently, what we have are many isolated experiences that do not interact with each other, with little or no interoperability between them.
What we do have, however, are also rich areas to play and exciting technologies to use to do so. And while not every experience can be as successful as Travis Scott’s Astronomical, there are key lessons and ingredients we can learn from it.
What can we learn from Travis Scott in Fortnite?
No technology for the sake of technology
The first rule of thumb for brands is don’t build something in AR, just build something in AR. Use it because it’s really going to elevate the experience. Fortnite didn’t create Astronomica lto to “do something in the metaverse,” rather it saw a genuine opportunity to innovate by taking in-game events to a new level.
raise not replicate
Fortnite and Travis Scott completely reinvented what a concert is. They didn’t just build “the stage” as we know it, in a game. They turned the entire island into a stage. They rewrote the formula and broke the format. Travis Scott was a giant, everything was on fire, and when he played highest in the room, was under water. Fornite completely rewrote how you can experience a concert.
Build worlds and tell stories.
Many of the experiences we’ve seen recently have the technology, but they don’t tell the story. Brands should collaborate with creatives who can bring narratives to these new contexts in a fresh way. One of the great things about these new technologies is that they give us the opportunity to bring our brands to life by building worlds around them. Travis Scott’s musical and visual brand is colourful, multi-sensory and incredibly dynamic. People describe his music as if he was on an acid trip and Fortnite brought it to life. hello yoga He also did a beautiful job recently on Roblox, introducing young people to mindfulness through a thoughtful and engaging world.
Technology at your fingertips
Fortnite knew its platform and limits and had enough cash to create a visually stunning experience. But many “metaverse” brand experiences we’ve seen since look more like the first iteration of the internet than the next iteration. If you don’t have enough cash or the right partner to build something amazing, don’t do it.
the perfect alliances
It’s crucial for brands to choose partnerships and talent that feel authentic to their brand. Fortnite and Travis Scott made sense. Another example of this working fine is lego x unreal collab to create a safe space for children to play, which is an example of a brand that emerges with purpose and authenticity.
Go where your audience is
Most of the time, brands try to target a specific audience, but there is a lot of lazy marketing like “Gen Z love TikTok”. It’s critical that you do some work to understand what platforms your target audience uses and, more importantly, how they use them. The Recent Spotify Experience is a good example of this: you knew your brand has less loyalty from Gen Z than millennials because Gen Z has grown up with so many platforms where you can consume on-demand content for free. So they focused on Roblox with an interactive game, which has had brilliant results.
Rosie Copland-Mann is Senior Creative Strategist at Amplify
Image Credit: Epic Games